Trump tweets Shanahan has withdrawn from consideration as defense secretary

US Acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Michael Shanahan stands during a welcoming ceremony at the defence ministry in Jakarta

US Acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Michael Shanahan stands during a welcoming ceremony at the defence ministry in Jakarta

President Donald Trump announced that Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan has withdrawn from consideration for the permanent job and revealed his replacement.

In this photo from November 2, 2017, Mark Esper testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing to be army secretary, in Washington. "I know Mark, and have no doubt he will do a fantastic job!" he added.

The president said, however, that they have a "very good vetting process" and this "came up a little bit over the last short period of time".

Earlier on Tuesday, USA Today reported the FBI was investigating a 2010 incident in which Mr Shanahan and his ex-wife accused each other of assault.

As reported by USA Today, Seattle police were called to respond to a late-night incident at the Shanahan family home in August 2010.

He led a Pentagon team that worked out the Trump administration's plan for creating a Space Force as the sixth branch of the US military.

"The confirmation process should focus on securing our nation against threats, readiness and the future of our military, and ensuring the highest quality care and support for service members and their families", Mr. Shanahan said in a statement. In a statement published by USA Today, Shanahan denied he had laid a hand on his wife and he said he had cooperated with law enforcement.

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Lawmakers praised the selection of Mr. Esper but said the White House should act quickly to find a permanent defense secretary.

After months of unexplained delays, US Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan stepped down yesterday before his formal nomination ever went to the Senate, citing a "painful" family situation that would hurt his children and reopen "wounds we have worked years to heal".

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of CT, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters the committee was not informed of Shanahan's domestic history when he was nominated and confirmed as deputy secretary in 2017.

Shanahan has been the acting defense secretary since January, after the former secretary Jim Mattis resigned in December 2018 because of differences that Mattis had with the president over decisions regarding foreign policy, including to withdraw American troops from Syria.

In a statement, Mr. Shanahan said that continuing with the process would be devastating to his children and would force them to relive traumatic personal experiences dating back almost a decade.

We've reached out to Boeing for comment, and will update this story with anything we hear back.

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